As a wine writer, I had never really taken dealcoholized wine seriously. It was rather like driving a Ferrari and never getting out of first gear. But, putting prejudice aside, I decided to accept some samples that were kindly offered to me by a German winery in Rüdesheim called Weingut Leitz. The Leitz family have been making wine since 1774 and the current owner, Johann Leitz, decided to make a range of dealcoholized wine in addition to the family’s traditional Rheingau wines. They are marketed under Eins Zwei Zero and Zero Point Five labels, which speaks to the amount of alcohol in the products.
Leitz Zero Point Five Pinot Noir tasted like beetroot and cranberry juice, lacking the mouth-feel that alcohol gives. More successful was Leitz Eins Zwei Zero Riesling – floral nose of lime and lemon with flavours to match.
Leitz Eins Zwei Zero Rosé (70% Merlot with Pinot Noir): palest pink, almost flesh colour; cherry pit nose; dry, raspberry candy and tangerine flavours.
The most impressive samples were the sparkling wines, as the bubbles added to the mouth-feel.
Leitz Eins Zwei Zero Sparkling Rosé: pale pink in colour with a bronze tint; earthy, wild strawberry nose; light-bodied, perfumed. Musk melon and strawberry flavours carried on fresh acidity.
Leitz Eins Zwei Zero Sparkling Riesling: my favourite of the tasting: pale straw in colour with a lime tint; lightly floral, crabapple bouquet; light-bodied, just off-dry, with apple and green plum flavours and zesty acidity.
Other wines tasted:
Burrowing Owl Chardonnay 2019 (Okanagan Valley; $42.95)
Bright, straw in colour; spicy, toasty nose of apple with vanilla oak notes; medium to full-bodied, dry, melon, apple and pear flavours with a touch of clove; beautifully balanced with well-integrated oak and a firm, long finish. (90)
Burrowing Owl Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
Deep ruby purple in colour; cedary, toasty, spicy nose of dark plum and currants; medium-bodied, dry, savoury black fruit flavours; well-balanced and firmly structured; mellow tannins on the finish. (90)
Burrowing Owl Merlot 2019
Dense purple colour; cedary, spicy blueberry bouquet with a toasty note; medium to full-bodied, dry, richly extracted, spicy blueberry and black plum flavours carried on lively acidity; beautifully balanced. (91)
Viña Real Crianza 2018 (Rioja, $16.95, Vintages #657411)
Deep purple-ruby colour; spicy, cedary, minerally, nose of cherries and rose petals; medium-bodied, dry, fresh and lively cherry flavour with well-integrated oak and a white pepper flourish on the finish. (90)
Garzón Reserva Albariño 2020 (Uruguay, $23.95, Vintages #646802)
Bright, straw in colour; minerally, lemony nose; medium-bodied, dry and crisp, white peach flavour with lively acidity. (89)
Château Mongravey 2018 (Bordeaux Cru Bourgeois Margaux, $61.95, LCBO Classics Release, April 7th)
Deep purple in colour; cedary, spicy, blackcurrant bouquet with notes of leather and licorice; medium-bodied, dry, elegant, well-balanced, plum, red and blackcurrant flavours with a savoury finish; fresh acidity and ripe tannins. (91)
Veramonte Ritual Organic Pinot Noir 2018 (Casablanca Valley, Chile, $23.95, Vintages #514182)
Medium ruby in colour; a nose of raspberries and undergrowth with a toasty oak note; medium-bodied, dry, cranberry and beetroot flavours; rich middle palate ending on ripe grainy tannins. (89–90)